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Pawnee Annie explores world of edible plants
Womans view
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I read an article sometime back decrying our American preoccupation of cultivating green, grassy, lawns. It went something like this.
We plant grass, we fertilize it, and we water it.
Then we cut it.
We haul it off.
We mow with expensive lawn mowers that need gas and oil.
We cut the grass, collect it in piles, and then discard the very grass that we have been working so hard to grow.
Then the process starts all over again. We do it over-and-over.
We deplete valuable, fertile soil to raise our grass, so we fertilize so that we can grow more…and all this time we are diligently working at getting rid of the varmint weeds…you know, the dandelions and the lambs quarter.
We are such lemmings. I don’t even know if we know why we invest such time and money in growing grass! We just do.
In California, there is a terrible water shortage.
But even before that drought became serious, a movement was escalating among the “yuppie” crowd to forget grass and grow food instead.
Even front yard rock gardens could be attractively arranged with edibles. You know, like olden times! A garden! There’s a site aimed at this pursuit —
Take a look. Maybe get some tips?
But there’s more to this story. I have discovered and am learning slowly that there are many edible plants around that we are discarding or ignoring.
We are totally clueless.
Such knowledge has disappeared among this “modern” and very dependent population.
Some of you know.
You recognize these natural edible herbs, berries, tubers, and the like.
Not me. I am still at the kindergarten level.
Let’s look at Dandelions.
Do you know that they are good to eat? This free food is right under our noses. But, we dig them up, or spray them to keep them from spreading.
The lowly Dandelion happens to be a great source of iron, Vitamins A and C, Calcium and many other vitamins and minerals. The yellow head is the edible part. It must be picked early in the Spring. The harvested head can be dipped in egg and bread crumbs; then fried for a delicious snack. If you try this be sure it hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides.
There are scads of books available on Amazon relating to the edible plants among our natural vegetation.
Fred hunts Morel mushrooms. Yes, you need to know what you are hunting .The Morel is distinctive in its appearance.
The native sand hill plums are ripening now. They make delicious jelly and jams. And most of the time, these bushes are available to any one for the picking.
Elderberries are delicious too. They hang in clusters on bushes and are deep purple. The only reason I don’t pick them is because I am a bit lazy.
But I am turning over a new leaf! No pun intended.
Lamb’s Quarter is another available naturally grown vegetable. Once you recognize its distinctive look, you will find it. Lamb’s Quarter makes great salads, and is similar in taste to fresh spinach.
Day Lilies can be eaten as well. Prolific in the wild or in the garden, they open in the morning and close at night. They bear flowers, blossoms, and shriveled blooms (all edible) at the same time and are distant cousins of the onion.
Their tubers are edible as well, and can be harvested in early April or late October. The tubers look like thin potatoes and can be boiled. The flower petals and buds can be picked and dipped in egg and bread crumbs and fried. Once fried on both sides, they resemble bacon, and taste sweet with a bit of zing. Look up “Blanche Cybele Derby? on You Tube and watch some of her videos.
If you are like me, this information might overwhelm, and yet, it intrigues one to know more. People actually used to know this information.
We are accustomed to running to the grocery store for food, but we might want to recognize other sources for food. At least, if nothing else, plant something that can be eaten. It’s not hard. Ask Fred.
The abundant returns are — well, rewarding!

“Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother.